Posts Tagged ‘baby sweater’

The SIL shawl has 3 more rows before it is completed. 3! I know I shouldn’t show how giddy I am at being so close to calling it complete, the gods of knitting don’t like that sort of thing, but I can’t help it; there is so little good news around. The amount of work needed to complete the 3 rows will probably take 3 nights of knitting, but after working on it so long 3 nights seem like almost nothing. I must stop this crowing or the gods will put some really difficult road blocks in front of me and the darn thing will take 3 weeks and not 3 days. Is it possible it could be packed up and in the mail before 24 November? Be calm my rapidly beating heart. Or am I having a heart attack just thinking of the end of this shawl?

When I realized I was coming to the end of the shawl I briefly panicked wondering what I would knit next. But I have a cowl and fingerless mitts I’d like to complete before winter is over so I think I will concentrate on that for a bit. Then there are socks that I started for Big Foot aka The Skipper, but I am rethinking the design. I also have the massive Shetland Shawl to do, but I have to bounce some questions off of you guys first before I start that.

I also have the Anastasia baby sweater pattern to write up. I started doing that in earnest yesterday. Instead of figuring out all the numbers for all the sizes as I created the sweater as I usually do, I decided to try what I thought would be a simpler method. I knitted and recorded all the numbers for one size within the pattern. The “simpler” way will never be done again. I am finding it more time consuming than if I had figured everything out as I went. The only thing saving me from madness is that I made two schematics: one detailing all the sizes the other all the stitches and rows. At least the schematics give me a starting point for all the other sizes. The great thing about grading a pattern is that I literally close myself off from all media while I am doing it. Not hearing, seeing or reading the news is a massive plus right now.

In other interesting news, we have a female fox hanging around the house at night. Last night she was on the patio, much to Yarn Rascal’s dismay. She is beautiful and looks healthy but it is unusual for foxes to come as close to the house as she does. I am going to have to encourage her to stay her distance by shooing her when she is that close. It’s fine when they turn and go, not so great when they decide to stay their ground. Speaking of which, for the time being I have lost the battle of the yard with the big buck. When he doesn’t want to move, he doesn’t move. Rather cheeky of him, but his testosterone is high this time of year and it affects his common sense. He is majestic looking when he is being obstinate and since there is no hunting allowed on our land, I know he’s safe here. SO all in all I’d rather have him around than end up a trophy on someone’s wall.

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All Is Normal

Things are moving along.

Hank, the Great Blue Heron, is back in our pond. The heron statutes I thought were deterrents are no longer working. I hate to think I might have to go the alligator route. Percy, the osprey is also back. I am constantly picking up the fish parts he discards. As if this weren’t enough, two new players have emerged. A young buck that seems to think the area belongs to him. He stomps, snorts and rushes at me to claim his ground. It’s rutting time and bucks get a little crazy. I explained to him that if he continues in this manner he’s going to be chasing his teeth down the hill after I smack them out of his mouth. I can’t have him being aggressive when I am walking Yarn Rascal, though I must say whenever he sees Yarn Rascal he doesn’t charge. This leads me to believe this is the buck that as a baby, repeatedly played and touched noses with Yarn Rascal.

The second newcomer who wants to claim territory is a coyote. This is not good and I keep him moving whenever I see him. I’ve looked up coyote deterrents on Google and it seems that mountain lion urine is the suggested method. I have a few thoughts on this. How does one safely get urine from a mountain lion? Here kitty, kitty, urinate in the bottle just isn’t the right approach. On the other hand, luring a mountain lion onto your property so it can freely relieve itself doesn’t seem the correct approach either.

Nevertheless, the internet has tons of mountain lion urine for sale. We have 2 acres to cover, that’s a lot of mountain lion urine. Of course, how does one know if the mountain lion urine purchased is true mountain lion urine? Again, how does one acquire mountain lion urine and live to tell about it much less sell it in large quantities?

All this might lead you to think not much knitting is getting done. Untrue. The SIL shawl is about 30 long rows from being complete and I have designed a new baby sweater and hat set which I am tentatively calling Anastasia. I need to grade the outfit and then I’ll photograph it and look for test knitters.

In the meantime, the Shetland wool for my next project has arrived, much to Yarn Rascal’s delight. True Shetland wool is Yarn Rascal’s most favorite. I haven’t unpacked the wool yet because it would not be safe from Yarn Rascal. Instead I have hung the package from the ceiling of the yarn vault, sort of like a piƱata, but high enough that Yarn Rascal can’t get it in his nightly forays into the vault. Still, he knows that it is there and he spends his evenings trying to reach it.

In summation, everything here is progressing normally.

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The Pembroke baby sweater pattern is now live on Ravelry.

pembroke knit baby sweater

My original inspiration for designing this was the rugby sweater. Tired of the same old stripes, I played around with color and shape to create a look that was not like everything else out there.

Pembroke knit baby sweater 2016

The result is an individualist sweater that is different from the rest of the stripes out there.

Pembroke knit baby sweater sideways cu

Best of all, the unique look doesn’t come at the expense of knitting frustration. The sweater is a quick, fun knit done in garter stitch. The striping is only on the front, leaving the back plain, so there is no anxiety of having to match up stripes when finishing the sweater. The rolled neck, hem and cuffs also make for easy finishing. The stripes are made in easy no-wrap short-rows. The short-row instructions are easy to follow and the knitter can’t get lost. Each row is written out and stitches are counted for you. All you need do is enjoy the knitting.

Pembroke knit baby sweater 4

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Today will be our first 80 F / 26 C degree day. The first real temperature change always throws me for a loop. I either over estimate or under estimate how warm or cool it’s going to get and end up dressing inappropriately. I have no illusions of getting it right today.

In other news, Yarn Rascal has decided he’s a hunter this year. His breed has no hunting genes, but that doesn’t seem to stop him. He runs from window to window and door to door yipping and growling as he whips himself up into a small lunatic. All the animals are moving this time of year, but we don’t know which one in particular is setting him off.

His breed is known to wander. The yard is large and bordered by woods on three sides, so the Rascal is always on a leash when he’s outside. It is quite an exercise for the arms walking him when he is in hunting mode. On the upside, yarn is the farthest thing from his mind when he is hunting.

It is also the growing season. Racks and racks of seedlings are sitting downstairs under grow lights, getting the tending that all seedlings need. Some have been repotted already, others are just reaching the repotting stage. I can’t complain about The Skipper this year, because I’ve added a significant number of seedlings to take us over the normal amount. Once again I have meticulously researched and sought out specific flowering plants that deer and rabbits don’t eat. I’ve selected color and the texture of the foliage so that it is a harmonious mix. Something enjoyable to look at during the summer. I’ve made sure that the plants are beneficial to birds, bees, and butterflies. Usually the whole scenario ends badly. Either the deer or rabbits decide to extend their menu options or The Skipper, in his infinite wisdom, mistakenly pulls them up thinking they are weeds. I am going to do my best to try and avoid those scenarios this year.

Knitting has taken place. Pictures will be forth coming. One baby sweater is ready for public release. The second is ready for test knitters. The third is trying my serenity, but is close to done…providing the yarn holds out. Yes, I may have miscalculated yardage. Yes, it is a specific hand-dyed colorway that cannot be matched. Yes, the bonnet is crucial to the look of the overall design. No, I don’t know what I am going to do if I run out of yarn. To make it even more interesting, I used scrap yarn from my stash for a color accent. I thought I had enough of that yarn too. But now I don’t know. I’ve tossed the stash to find more, but came up with nothing. This is masochistic knitting at its best. Still, I knit on.

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Things have calmed a bit. In the lull, I’ve been able to mess up work on finalizing the New Rugby Sweater. It should see the light of publishing next week. What’s basically held this up is my dithering over page design and general layout of my patterns. Now that I have the logo I want some standardization of the way the pages look from pattern to pattern.

What I’ve come up with might stun you. After all this time I’ve reached the conclusion that a knitting pattern is a knitting pattern. Knitters buy it to make the item. They need a clean layout that easily shows the stages of the project with lettering that won’t make their eyes cross and headings that are easily recognizable. It’s meant to be understood at a glance. A pattern is not a brochure.

The next item that needs attention is writing up the Feelin’ Groovy Sweater. Yes I am finally at that point. The proto type is done. I do like the way it turned out. I will be looking for test knitters by next week. Pictures of the sweater are coming.

At the moment nothing pressing is on the needles. I have two pairs of socks: one toe up the other cuff down in progress, my spring sweater’s back is waiting to be finished, and the Rock Island Shawl is still in a time out, a Shetland inspired baby blanket is still waiting, but instead I have turned my attention to a vintage 1920s baby sweater design and cap that’s been rolling around in my head for what seems like forever. I’ve sketched out the idea. Ruffles on collar and cuffs, with a few inches of smocking on the sleeves and across the upper part of the chest. The problem is that ruffles and smocking don’t go well with the yarn I really want to use. I’ve gone up down and all around with needle sizes, but it’s the yarn. It doesn’t want to ruffle and it doesn’t want to show off the smocking. So I am in need of another yarn. The problem of course is which yarn. Hence, I am without an immediate project. The weird thing is I am not in angst over not having a project. I rather like not having to pick up needles and yarn. This is, of course, worrisome behavior.

Now that I don’t necessarily sit down with yarn and needles before the television, I really can’t help but watch the news and take it in. I find that disturbing. I also get to see all the commercials and experience how trite and stupid they are. Hundreds of television channels and not a thing to watch. How did civilization come to this? I realize there is a lot I don’t take in when I am knitting and perhaps it is the best way to watch television. Otherwise I feel like I am wasting my time.

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The big news around here is we missed the snow. I gleefully removed the covers from the lettuce, peas, and hellebore, but have refrained from tossing the delphinium seeds into the ground. What we did get instead of snow was wind. Lots and lots of heavy wind. Tree limbs and trees all succumbed. Then the eager beavers with their chain saws were out. The buzz of a chain saw is as grating on me as the sound of a dentist’s drill.

So while I was not enjoying listening to the chain saws, I figured it was a good time to tackle the grading of the Feelin’ Groovy sweater. I love math the same way I love root canals, which is not too much. The grading went well up to the point of placing the faux pockets. The world is full of standards. I know this. But try and research pocket placement standards.

When I get in a design jam similar to this I resort to the sewing industry for information. The faux pockets were placed properly for the 12 month size I am knitting. What I need to know is does the distance from the bottom to the top of the pocket stay the same over the other three sizes or does it change. The distance from center changes, but does the vertical distance change too? I strongly suspect it does.

I’ve done two days of searching the illuminating internet and while I can find all sorts of standards for insignia and logo placement on clothing I’m coming up with zilch on pocket placement. The thing about pockets, it seems, is that the garment industry tends to frown on them because they increase production cost. Therefore, wherever and whenever they can do away with them they do.

I searched in every knitting book I have for the answer. I perused every knitting and sewing pattern I have for the answer. I am now into searching library books. When that fails, and trust me, it will, my next search will be at Jo-Ann Fabrics through their sewing patterns looking for the one that most closely resembles what I am doing and covers the sizes I am working in.

If all the above fails, I will make mock ups of the three remaining sizes and eyeball placement. Then I will knit the three separate sizes up to their faux pocket joins to find the specific rows and stitch counts for placement.

If anyone out there has a better way or knows of information regarding pocket placement on the front of a child’s sweater please let me know. The picture of where the faux pockets go looks like this:

Feelin' Groovy Sweater

In the meanwhile, I am going to knit the collar of the sweater. I completed sewing in the sleeves and seams last night while watching The Skipper’s grandson’s team lose in the latest basketball tournament play. Even with this loss, they had a great season and should be proud of what they did achieve.

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I was knitting along on the Feelin’ Groovy baby sweater’s sleeve, positive that I had the wrong numbers, when the weather guy on the television said the words “snow” and “5 to 12 inches” (13 to 30.5) cm. I sputtered a little in my knitting, changing to purl stitches on what was clearly a knit row as I glanced at the television sure the guy was talking about the mountains of Colorado or something equally distant and high. But The Skipper wasn’t watching the Weather Channel, he was watching the local news station.

My next two thoughts were almost simultaneous. Damn I have to rip those purl stitches out and why is the local weather guy talking about the Adirondacks? Before I eradicated the purl stitches I once more looked over my notes and again felt sure I had botched the sleeve numbers. Then I went on to speak about a happier topic: the possibility of getting a jump on the planting season and dropping the delphinium seeds into the ground early. I had, after all, already planted the peas and lettuce.

I returned to knitting the knit rows and purling the purl rows when The Skipper said didn’t I just hear snow was coming for the weekend? I instantly began to purl again on a knit row.

For the record I want MoNa (Mother Nature) to know that I plan to fight back. This morning I bought the proper row covers to keep the snow off the lettuce and the peas. I will install them this windy, grey, gloomy afternoon. Also, I am not going to plant my delphinium seeds as planned. As for the hellebore that has promising blooms on it, I am going to construct a cover to save it from your wrath. MoNa can do what she wants this weekend, while I figure out why the numbers on the knitted sleeve seem wonky.

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Progress is continuing on the Feelin’ Groovy baby sweater. For a bit, I dipped into the realm of Masochistic Designing regarding how to attach the faux pocket tops to the front of the sweater. It had almost become existential angst until I decided to try a three-needle join. A three-needle join is exactly like a three-needle bind off except the bind off move isn’t performed. The three-needle join worked like a charm. I nearly spent a full 15 minutes in a blissful state of accomplishment until I started worrying about whether the faux pocket tops were the right distance apart. That led to worrying about whether they were positioned in the right places vertically. The gnawing question: Were they where pockets should be? Or once the remaining top of the sweater was completed would they look misplaced? Would the entire thing need ripping back to reposition them? And then the ultimate existential question: Why did I design this with pockets anyway? Hence the rest of the night was spent in masochistic design mode. After every row I’d lay out the front to see if the faux pockets looked funny.

With the decreases for the armholes complete it was time to add to my anxiety turn to inserting the button placket. The placket is normally in the middle of the garment. Though I had found and marked the middle stitches in order to place the faux pockets at the appropriate distance apart, I now worried that once the placket was created it would make the pocket placements look off. Thankfully, I realized that I was getting ahead of myself. My most immediate worry need was to remember which side the buttons go on for a girl’s sweater. The placket couldn’t be started without knowing this first.

Looking back, perhaps the easiest way of solving that little dilemma was to just ask Google. Instead, I turned to my ever expanding library of knitting books trying to remember which one contained the information I needed. I knew I read it in one of them. I remembered I even thought of marking the page with a sticky note that protruded from the book and said “button placement info” on it. For some reason, however, I never did that.

Let’s just say the search was lengthy. I scanned through my pattern collection instead looking for a cardigan that would show the side the buttons go on. Armed with that information it was back to knitting…more or less.

Before I could pick up the needles again, I needed to know the distance between each buttonhole. I remembered the book that should have had the “button placement info” tab sticking out of it gave the distances, but I wasn’t going back upstairs to look through everything again when I couldn’t find it the first time. I put the knitting down and called it a night.

Next time I will write about button placement and how to figure it all out.

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knit baby sweater

The back of the Feelin’ Groovy baby sweater is complete. I am working on the front, at the point where the pockets would be inset if I were creating real pockets. I’ve spent weeks thinking about and working with these pockets. Who knew pockets could be such a time consuming, weighty issue? I’ve dithered back and forth over type, size, placement, technique, on and on. As I studied the picture I drew, I finally saw that it wasn’t the pocket that was so important. It was the look of the outside trim that broke up the expanse of turquoise fabric.

Fair enough. So I jettisoned the actual pocket for just the trim. How to attach the knitted trim is what I am wrestling with now. To knit it directly into the sweater would be too much for most knitters. Familiarity with intarsia and stranded color work is a bit much to expect. Creating the trim separately on two double pointed needles is a much easier knit because they are only dealing with stranded color work.
In the picture the two trims are on two double pointed needles. The best way to place them onto the Front is what I am dithering over now.

It’s one thing to draw up a sweater design and another thing entirely to execute it. In the drawing stage I’m not thinking about how to execute the design. I am just going for a certain look. After it’s drawn I think about how to actually create it with yarn and needles. While as the designer I may be willing and able to work more complicated knitting techniques to get the look I want, regular knitters might find these techniques off-putting. Thus the tug of war between design idea and actual 3-D creation. Make it simple but not boringly so. Spice it up with a little interesting technique but avoid over complicated things.

The stranded color work at the hems, cuffs and neck are spicy enough for most knitters. Add shaping for torso, arm and neckline, and throw in a placket and that’s about the limit.

The weather continues to march into Spring. The frog is still alive in his abode. For one little frog he has quite the appetite. I’ve told The Skipper that this is the last frog we’re raising. If he brings in anymore tadpoles they are going right back outside. Yarn Rascal is delighted with having the frog indoors. At night he sits for hours in front of the tank watching and talking to it. When it moves he gets all wiggly squiggly. I’ll get all excited when I place the frog outside in the pond.

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The Back of the Feelin’ Groovy baby sweater is almost done. It became the Back when I reached the armholes and still had not settled the debate in my head as to the type of neckline.
A large part of me still wants to go with the mandarin collar, even though the question has been raised as to whether a collar that stands up on the neck would be itchy. Of all the reasons against using this type collar that one never crossed my mind because if I am knitting a baby item I am using the softest yarn available.

I have a very sensitive neck when it comes to fabric touching it. So sensitive in fact that I have spent my life carefully cutting off the tags they put on clothes because they bother me. Yet I have never had an issue draping a knitted shawl or scarf around my neck because I use the softest yarn out there. When I am designing baby clothes I use yarns that are soft and gentle. Some are specifically made for baby clothes such as Sublime’s Baby Cashmere Merino Silk, or the Debbie Bliss line of baby yarns. If I am not using specific baby yarn I look for one that is made up of alpaca, merino, cashmere, silk, any combination that is soft enough not to irritate little necks. The yarn I’m using for Feelin’ Groovy is made of alpaca. I love the drape, the way it knits, the way it looks when it gets worn, and I love its softness. I could wear it around my neck all day.

One of the serious drawbacks in designing this sweater with a mandarin collar is it limits the size range. Babies from newborn to 6 months have no necks. So sizes 3 months, 6 months and even 9 months are out. While a 9 month old does show neck development, it is not enough to comfortably wear a mandarin collar. Thus I limited the sizes to 12 months, 18 months, and 2 years. I am toying with the idea of adding a 4 year old size, but I am not sure yet.

Altering the neckline to a collar that lays flat would give me the 3 month to 2 year range I like to design for. I have made a number of sketches with alternative necklines and while a flat rounded neck would look nice, it throws off the placket I had planned. Frankly, without the placket and its buttons the design just isn’t the same. It loses the child-like, innocent, playful feelings I want to convey. I like my designs to convey some emotions and I specifically put colors, shapes, and fabric together to achieve those things.

I still have time to worry over the collar. I’ll be starting the Front tomorrow. By the time I hit the start of the armhole I hope to have put the issue to rest.

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